Here is, 1. The continuance of the Israelites’ bondage in Egypt, Exod. 2:23. Probably the murdering of their infants did not continue; this part of their affliction attended only the period immediately connected with the birth of Moses, and served to signalize it. The Egyptians now were content with their increase, finding that Egypt was enriched by their labour; so that they might have them for slaves, they cared not how many they were. On this therefore they were intent, to keep them all at work, and make the best hand they could of their labour. When one Pharaoh died, another rose up in his place that was governed by the same maxims, and was as cruel to Israel as his predecessors. If there was sometimes a little relaxation, yet it presently revived again with as much rigour as ever; and probably, as the more Israel were oppressed the more they multiplied, so the more they multiplied the more they were oppressed. Note, Sometimes God suffers the rod of the wicked to lie very long and very heavily on the lot of the righteous. If Moses, in Midian, at any time began to think how much better his condition might have been had he staid among the courtiers, he must of himself think this also, how much worse it would have been if he had had his lot with brethren: it was a great degradation to him to be keeping sheep in Midian, but better so than making brick in Egypt. The consideration of our brethren’s afflictions would help to reconcile us to our own. 2. The preface to their deliverance at last. (1.) They cried, Exod. 2:23. Now, at last, they began to think of God under their troubles, and to return to him from the idols they had served, Ezek. 20:8. Hitherto they had fretted at the instruments of their trouble, but God was not in all their thoughts. Thus hypocrites in heart heap up wrath; they cry not when he binds them, Job 36:13. But before God unbound them he put it into their hearts to cry unto him, as it is explained, Num. 20:16. Note, It is a good sign that God is coming towards us with deliverance when he inclines and enables us to cry to him for it. (2.) God heard, Exod. 2:24, 25. The name of God is here emphatically prefixed to four different expressions of a kind intention towards them. [1.] God heard their groaning; that is, he made it to appear that he took notice of their complaints. The groans of the oppressed cry aloud in the ears of the righteous God, to whom vengeance belongs, especially the groans of God’s spiritual Israel; he knows the burdens they groan under and the blessings they groan after, and that the blessed Spirit, by these groanings, makes intercession in them. [2.] God remembered his covenant, which he seemed to have forgotten, but of which he is ever mindful. This God had an eye to, and not to any merit of theirs, in what he did for them. See Lev. 26:42. (3.) God looked upon the children of Israel. Moses looked upon them and pitied them (Exod. 2:11); but now God looked upon them and helped them. (4.) God had a respect unto them, a favourable respect to them as his own. The frequent repetition of the name of God here intimates that now we are to expect something great, Opus Deo dignum—A work worthy of God. His eyes, which run to and fro through the earth, are now fixed upon Israel, to show himself strong, to show himself a God in their behalf.
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